Less than two months before Rwandans go to the polls, Presidential aspirants Monday began submitting their nomination documents to the National Electoral Commission (NEC).
The process will run till June 23.
The first presidential aspirant to arrive at the commission was Dr. Frank Habineza who is the flag bearer for the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda.
Clad in a white t-shirt and matching hat emblazoned with the party emblem, Habineza, who arrived twenty minutes past the scheduled time pulled up at the NEC offices in a chauffeured black land cruiser accompanied by party members who rode in a coaster bus, waving the party flag in support.
A Mercedes Benz which carried his media team followed closely.
Minutes after his team and supporters sat, the Executive Secretary of NEC, Charles Munyaneza quoted from the law to explain what is expected of prospective presidential candidates.
“As it is stipulated in Articles 82 and 83 of Law nº 2732010 of 19/06/2010 governing presidential elections as amended and complemented to date, presenting a presidential candidate dossier is done by an individual himself or herself to the President of the electoral commission who, after verifying that the dossier is in order then provides the aspirant an official document that confirms that he has received the dossier,” he said.
Upon completion of handing in his dossier, Habineza told journalists that his documents had been found in order and he would be waiting for the final announcement.
“We are very ready. As a political party, we have been preparing for the last eight years and we have structures in 29 of the 30 districts of the country and our campaign teams are ready,” he said.
He pointed out that they had faced some challenges, including not being well known by many people from all over the country.
“When setting up structures countrywide, we had the challenge of not being well known and there was doubt in the legitimacy of our party and where there was harassment by locals, the Ministry of local government stepped in and so far, all have been resolved,” he said.
Mwenedata was one of the four independent candidates contesting for a parliamentary seat in the 2013 elections but was unable to garner enough votes.
Next was Presidential aspirant Gilbert Mwenedata who is standing on an independent ticket. Mwenedata was able to hand in all the documents except for a few that lacked some photocopies. He is expected to rectify that in the next five days.
The election roadmap
According to the electoral calendar, as part of preparations, since February NEC continues to hold consultative meetings with stakeholders and to procure election materials. This particular process ends in July.
The provisional list of nominated candidates shall be announced on June 27 and the final list onJuly 7.
Campaigns for the qualified candidates will officially begin on July 14 and end on August 3, just a day before the elections.
Close to 6.8 million will participate in the election from 5.7 million who participated in 2010 presidential election, according to the National Electoral Commission.